About Jacob Curby

Watch Jake’s Story


Jacob Curby loved wrestling, and it was a central part of his life from his early days spent in a playpen of the Lyons Township HS wrestling room to his first Greco match in Finland at age six.

Jake accomplished a great deal in his 25 years, but it was the manner in which he conducted himself that stands out in the reflections of family, friends, and friends of wrestling. He was hard-working, humble, determined, tough, and kind to others. He was, as an article on Themat.com states, “a warrior on and off the mat.”

He overcame a battle with cancer during high school and quietly dealt with his epilepsy. He was coached by Mark King from his early days in the Lions Wrestling Club where he won an IKWF state title through high school where he was All-State and a leading Greco-Roman competitor.

Following high school, Jake joined Ivan Ivanov in Marquette, MI where he trained at the US Olympic Education Center and attended college at Northern Michigan University. Here he began his steady climb up the Olympic ladder that he hoped would end as a world and Olympic medalist.

Receiving a FILA star is among the highest honors presented by FILA, the international wrestling federation. The award was given in memory of U.S. Greco-Roman National Team member Jacob Curby, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 25 in January of 2010. Click on the photo to read the  article…

At the time of Jake‟s passing, he was ranked number two at 66 kg in the US. He was showing continued improvement and had some big wins this season in Europe where he beat the US National Champ in Finland and then defeated the current European bronze medalist in Sweden where he won a bronze medal.

His wrestling achievements include being a 4-time senior national placewinner; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes in the World Team Trials; University Nationals Champion; 2 University World Teams; Sunkist Champion; NYAC International Champion; Dave Schultz International Champion; Slovenia Grand Prix Champion; Hamid Elofir International Champion; Bronze Medal in Pan Am Tournament; Bronze medal in the Kartozia International in Tbilisi, Georgia; and a Bronze medal in the Happaranda Tournament in Sweden.

Jake was so proud to represent USA Wrestling around the world. He loved his affiliation with the NYAC. Coaching the Illinois Greco teams in Fargo brought him great satisfaction. He was the Greco clinician at the Overtime School of Wrestling and stated, “Overtime is wrestling paradise!” His message as stated on his website was simple – “you control who you are or want to become in the future. My experiences as a world-class athlete have taught me to be resilient; my battle with cancer taught me to be tough; my relationships with my God, family and country have taught me to be thankful. I cannot guarantee a world championship, but I can guarantee total dedication. I will never fail a drug test, I will always be in shape, and I will conduct myself in a manner that will make my sponsors, family and country proud!”

Jake and Amy, his fiancée, followed Coach Ivanov to the new Suples Training Center in Boise, ID at the beginning of the year and were very excited about this opportunity. Several days after returning to the US after wrestling in the Podubbny Tournament in Russia, Jake passed away while taking a nap after the afternoon practice in Boise. We will not forget this fine young man. In an effort to memorialize Jacob and what he stood for with his wonderful character USA Wrestling is establishing an award that will be called the “Jacob Curby Memorial Award.” Every year USA Wrestling will recognize a Greco-Roman athlete from each of our two Olympic Training Centers. This award will be given to a wrestler who has displayed strong personal character and commitment to the sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. The winner of this award will get his named displayed on a beautiful plaque on the wrestling room walls of each of our Olympic Training Centers.

The entire world of wrestling stands behind the efforts of the USA as it celebrates the beautiful life of one of our own-Greco-Roman wrestler Jacob Curby 66 kg. We wish for the Curby Cup to be a great success as a tribute to one of our fallen brothers.
Raphaël Martinetti, President of FILA – Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées

USA Wrestling is extremely excited with the establishment of the Curby Cup. It is our hope that this annual event will create a lasting legacy for beloved National Team Member, Jacob Curby. Jacob embodied what is right with the sport of wrestling and as an organization we could not be more pleased with the formation of this event in his honor.
Rich Bender, Executive Director of USA Wrestling

Jake Curby was a great champion and a class kid. His superb attitude on and off the mat will be missed dearly. My hope is that the Curby Cup will help you to celebrate Jacob’s twenty five years of existence in this earth. Jacob Curby was liked by everyone I know. All of the National Coaches loved him. Why did all the coaches love him? It was because Jacob was a tremendously hard working kid that was very coachable. Jacob’s wonderful positive attitude shined very bright. He was always hungry to learn and he listened to advice with open ears. Jacob never complained! Not one time did I ever hear any negative words come from this tough kid’s mouth. He was a true pleasure to coach and to work with.
Coach Steve Fraser, National Coach, Olympic Champion

He will stay with me always in my memories, like a great person. Never complained always hungry for more knowledge, asked question how to get better all the time. And simply just a great human being! We will always ask why him and why now when he was just on the way to reach his dreams, to face all the challenges ahead of him. I know that by losing him our Greco family is going to get stronger and closer than ever. He will be with us forever.
Coach Momir Petkovic, National Coaching Staff, Olympic Champion

I was always a great admirer of Coach Jake. He was one of my favorite coaches. He always had a way of making everything he did for the team fun. He also taught us the meaning of respect. If the team did something to upset one of the other coaches Coach Jake would always be the first to make us apologize. I only hope that I can use what I learned from Coach Jake Curby and apply it to the rest of my life.
Team Illinois Wrestler

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